Living Naturally With Cancer


A cancer survivor describes the use of diet, exercise and natural products to help boost her immune system.

One of the benefits from a cancer diagnosis for me was a complete lifestyle change. I was fortunate to have several friends and family to help me along the way.

Sometimes a patient with cancer goes into remission, other times they don’t. Even the patients who are in remission need an extra “boost” to their immune system. Every cancer survivor is on their own unique journey, but one fact remains: It is important to have the immune system be as strong as possible.

When I write about “natural” I am not talking about going off to Mexico or another foreign country for alternative medicine. I am talking about helping the immune system by relief of stress and becoming stronger to fight those lousy cells.

It truly seemed that the opportunities to do this dropped in my lap. I had belonged to my local YMCA for 15 years. Unknown to me, they had an exercise program called Living Strong. Special athletic trainers all across the country are specifically trained to assist cancer survivors either undergoing chemo or finished with treatment. Participants work on a modified exercise program. People meet as a group several times a week with the trainer. I chose to pay for an individual trainer, because I am deaf and it is so much easier for me to hear. Unknown to me, chemo causes balance problems and I wondered why I was falling easily.

Our YMCA has additional services for cancer survivors. The cancer center where I go assists with the cost. A licensed dietician comes in several times a week and teaches cancer survivors how to eat better when feeling nauseated, having diarrhea or needing to lose or gain weight. She is so knowledgeable and I love her classes! We even visit a local grocery store monthly to sample healthy products and see what we like. Another licensed dietician is there from the store to help us.

I personally was experiencing severe diarrhea from the chemo, and the OTC (over-the-counter) medications were not working. The dietician recommended Kefir, a type of yogurt, and it helped more than anything else. I still take it every day with some healthy flaxseed on top. Kefir has the probiotics we need to strengthen our immune system. My trainer and dietician work closely together and have helped a great number of people throughout the years.

Another friend contacted me about using essential oils. I was surprised when she shared with me that one of the best cancer centers in the country, MD Anderson Cancer Center, is using these as a part of their program. I am now working with this experienced distributor on the correct oils to help me personally with the side effects of chemo. One caution, be sure you work with a reputable distributor rather than buying cheaper ones over the counter because some of these oils have been watered down and not as effective.

There are several excellent books which are free online to give you information on the oils. For example, I have a diffuser and there is no doubt in my mind that the lavender and orange oils not only makes my bedroom smell better, but helps me to relax and sleep more soundly.

The hospital where I go for treatments also sponsor Reiki classes. I have been using Reiki for several years and am so relaxed when I leave I feel limp! This is definitely a boost to my immune system and a stress reducer. Yoga also is a big help and I have yet to try that!

Another wonderful natural product made a huge difference for me. I receive shots in the arms and stomach and the places where the injections are cause severe burning and reddened skin for a couple of weeks afterwards. The blisters are quite painful, and OTC remedies did not help. My cousin found a store where all of their cream products are made from natural oils and exotic butters. She bought some samples for me to try. The store owners hand makes every one of their products. The difference between these creams and the OTC creams were night and day. I later visited the store myself, and they said several of their customers are patients recovering from chemo and radiation. You can check your website for a distributor near you or that does mailing to your home.

I am not claiming that diet, exercise, essential oils Reiki, handmade creams and other natural products will cure your cancer. But it can boost your immune system and make you feel good. And we all want that whether we have cancer or not!

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